Actin  Version 5.5.5
Software for Robotics Simulation and Control
Manipulator Combination Plugin

The Manipulator Combination Plugin provides a way to combine two manipulators and form one manipulator. To use this plugin, load the manipulatorCombinationPlugin.ecp.

After loading the plugin, a menu item "Manipulator Combinations" is added to the "Edit" main menu as shown in Figure below.

Edit Manipulator Combinations

Combining Manipulators

When two manipulators are combined, they can be seperated later, unless the model is saved and the viewer is closed. At this point the combination is permanent. If you wish to temporarily attach manipulators instead of permanently combining them, use the Manipulator Attachment Plugin.

To use this plugin, Click on the "Edit->Manipulator Combinations" menu. This will bring up a "Manage Manipulator Combinations" dock widget as shown in the Figure below.

Manipulator Combination Widget

To combine 2 manipulators, select the manipulator you wish to add to the base manipulator using the "Dependent Manip:" drop down. This manipulator will "disappear" and it's base link will get combined with the selected "Base Manipulator" and "Base Link:" forming a new manipulator with the same index as the "Base Manipulator". The figure below shows the selected links that will be combined.

Combining selected links

To determine how the links will be combined, we specify the offset in the dialog. To populate the offset based on where the links are currently placed in the simulation, press the "Use Current" button. To preview how the links will be combined based on the specified offset, click on the "Preview Offset" button. This will move the selected dependent manipulator base link to the selected offset from the selected "Base" manipulator and link. Once you are satisfied with your preview, click the "Combine" button to combine the manipulators.

Combine Manipulators

If you want to undo the combination, select it from the table near the bottom of the widget, and click "Delete". If you save an open the model after combining, the combination is permanent and you will not be able to see or delete the previous combination.


Adding a New Joint

Another feature provided by this plugin is the ability to create an invisible manipulator with one joint. This feature combined with the ability to combine manipulators, allows you to create a joint between 2 manipulators when combining them into 1. See the video below to see an example.

Create a Joint When Combining Manipulators